People are very grateful for our help, says Project Coordinator for Ukraine Sergey Sayenko
Sergey Sayenko from Donetsk, is 40 years old, and lives with his wife and 2 children. Sergey was the director and owner of a construction company in Donetsk, but since September 2014 he has worked for PIN in Slavyansk in the shelter department as a project coordinator.
How would you describe the situation in Eastern Ukraine in 2016?
In 2016, the situation became more stable than in past years as any people returned to their homes in the gray zone. Over the past year in the East of Ukraine, a lot of work has been done to restore peaceful life, although the conflict did escalate in some places.
How did the conflict in Eastern Ukraine change since it began?
The conflict was much more widespread before and now has a local character on the front line. There are several hot spots where there are constant battles including Avdeevka, Marinka, Luganskое, and Mariupol. In other parts of Ukraine, there is a peaceful life, while two years ago it was a very active conflict. Now many houses are starting to be demolished and many people live in need.
How are the civilians dealing with the 3 years of living in war?
In the cities, 30-40% of the population remained on the front line the whole time. This percentage consisted of the elderly, people with disabilities, and even children. They did not want to leave their homes or they did not have any opportunities to go anywhere and they badly needed our help. Now, they have grown accustomed to living under shots, but this has caused some serious psychological problems for many people.
What is the main aim of PIN´s response in Ukraine now?
The main goal of our organization is to provide a variety of different essential types of support for people who have suffered from the conflict. We work in the hottest spots, where there is the most need and we help the most vulnerable population.
In which humanitarian areas does PIN help?
We help in the reconstruction of housing, providing water and hygiene, food aid, psychological assistance, as well as assistance for agriculture and small businesses. This year we are planning projects for early development in these new areas.
What are the main challenges that PIN´s local team has had to face in the work?
The main challenges in our work is the risk that the conflict can begin again. This happened to us before when after the restoration of windows they were broken again. We were also very disappointed when our office in Donetsk was closed. We can see that there are very large needs in an uncontrolled territory, so it is very difficult for us when we are not allowed to work there.
How do people react to your presence in the areas where you work?
Our organization is very well known and we have a good reputation among the population. We were the first who began to help peaceful people in the East of Ukraine and we are trusted by the people and the administrations. We had no problems with our work and the population is very grateful for the help.
Do you think that the Ukrainian conflict might end soon?
I think that this conflict will not end soon and we will have local conflict for a long time. It will be hardest for the people who live in the buffer zone, because local battles will continue there, but we hope that the government can agree on peace and ordinary people will not suffer.